Strategic Meetings Summit London, 26 September,
September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
The double hammer blow that 9/11 and the relentless expansion of the low cost carriers dealt the European aviation industry has left many traditional airlines fighting for their existence.
Drastic cuts in costs, savage staff reductions and a sharp drop in capacity were just the start of the solutions.Since those dark months immediately after September 11, a few have robustly fought back, others, already weak before 9/11, have continued their downward slide while the bulk are fighting on, their long term future still uncertain.
Each airline seems to have chosen its own means of survival. British Midland, with some success, set up a low cost carrier bmibaby; BA adopted low cost fares for its short destinations and markedly improved its transatlantic offering to win a bigger share of this lucrative market, Aer Lingus became in effect a low cost carrier in Europe while Lufthansa has made a play for the profitable first and business class market.
Amid all this SAS, Europe's fourth largest traditional carrier, adopted a strategy which seemed more of the same, not that much different from what had gone before. One critic said it was a “re-arranging the deck chairs” approach. But four months on, the airline is reporting increased sales and has an optimistic view of the coming year.
SAS launched last November three categories of fares: business class, economy and the new offering, economy flex. It was on this that the airline, whose post 9/11 strategy was to implement 40% cuts, pinned hopes of attracting new customers.